Highway hypnosis

The KWS is playing at Koerner Hall today, which means work is only a 20 minute subway ride away. Yesssssssssssssssss.

The rehearsal schedule varies but quite often I find myself driving home in the dark. The route is familiar enough now that I find myself not paying attention to where I’m going and accidentally take a wrong exit now and then and end up visiting some (possibly charming) little town in the middle of the night and spend half an hour correcting my navigational errors. I always get where I’m going eventually.

The traffic on the 401 and the QEW is comforting. It doesn’t matter what crazy hour you’re out at, you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of people who just want to get home like you and you’ll know you’re not alone. When I lived in Indiana I would drive up to Chicago every now and then to hear the CSO perform and would inevitably find myself completely alone on the highway at 3 AM with nothing but blackness in all directions (or nothing but hundreds of terrifying blinking red lights stretching from horizon to horizon). I’ll take the traffic over the deep, existential solitude.

My favourite stretch of the journey is the point where the 401 runs past Pearson Airport, which I like for the sheer number of streetlights. Before moving here I had almost always arrived in Toronto by plane and this stretch of road was the first thing I saw of the city itself. For me those lights symbolized the energy, the hugeness, the possibilities, of a new city that I might make home some day during a time when I felt dissatisfied with my environment. After a few months of living here the city feels irrationally small to me. The drive past the airport always reminds me of the childlike wonder I had for this place, and of how much things have changed.


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